Sitters using HO car and liability

I’ve received some good sitters but they don’t have a vehicle. Nowadays the rentals are very expensive. They’ve asked to use my car for local trips. This makes me nervous because of liability or if they got into an accident (esp since there are a lot of deer in the area). How many HOs allow their sitters to use their cars? I believe my insurance covers someone driving but there’s always the deductible, etc. Would prefer not to loan the car but don’t want to lose the sitters. One of the applicants said she’s been able to use a car everywhere she’s sat. Would like to hear from other HO on this subject.

Hi @Elaine1 - you shouldn’t feel pressured to allow sitters to use your car, but as you are aware it may limit the pool of sitters that would be interested.
If you are not happy allowing access just make it clear in your profile and in any conversations you have with potential sitters prior to confirmation. There is no way it should be used as ‘leverage’ (for want of a better word) after you have confirmed.

@Elaine1 there are a few other posts with this information, if you click on the search button, you can read other people’s experiences. For some, it’s quite common to include use of their car, and others would not allow it.

Don’t feel you have to allow use of your car, a lot of sitters have their own car. I think your prospective sitter has been extremely lucky to have use of a car on all of her sits.

Insurance seems to be different from country to country, some insurance covers the car no matter who is driving, and others cover specific drivers

We have done over thirty sits in the UK and have never been offered a car.
However, we have just finished a string of ten sits in New Zealand and Australia. Of the ten, eight offered us a car without us asking - and one of the remaining two agreed after we asked, the final one said it was not available for us to use.


@Elaine1 Yes, there have already been good posts in response to your query. Here’s ours. :wink:

We are both sitters and homeowners. We’d like to comment on your statement that the prospective sitter said that she’s always been allowed use of car. To us, that seems to be pressuring you to conform to her wishes. If you are not comfortable lending your car, don’t do it. We don’t.

As sitters, we have never been offered use of car.

As homeowners, we have no way of knowing what the sitter’s driving habits or record are like. The THS background checks do not, I believe, include driving history. (Moderator, please correct me if wrong about that point.)

As far as insurance, even if your policy allows third parties, how much must you pay? And what about the deductible? If there is a fender bender, how will you get the sitter to pay the deductible? And of course, if they do have a fender bender, the claim stays against your policy and rates will inevitably rise because of it.

So there are quite a bit of things to think through. In our home listing, we state that there is no use of car.

Hi @Elaine1 firstly I just want to say as others have also said, you should never feel pressured to allow the sitters use of your car.

As a sitter perspective we have been given the use of a car both in the UK, (we had our own car but was offered the use of theirs as they had a larger vehicle to accommodate their dogs which we graciously accepted), and whilst we have been sitting internationally.

Also a good point @Colin mentioned, “Insurance seems to be different from country to country, some insurance covers the car no matter who is driving, and others cover specific drivers”.


Yes, that is the issue I’m dealing with - even though my insurance would cover this, there is the matter of the deductible and the rise in the rate. Also, we have so many deer around here and it’s inevitable that at some time or another you end up running into one of them. Although they seem small, they do a lot of damage to a car. That happened to one of my housesitters but luckily (though not for her) it was her car. I was just wondering how common it was that people allowed use of their cars. I have let them use it to take my dog to the local dog park since I figure the sitter might not want my dog in their car. Wish we had better arrangements for transportation, but the fact is that we really don’t.

We don’t allow use of our car eventhough our insurance would cover it. The reason is, that traffic here is very hard and dangerous to navigate, unless you’ve used to it. For the same reason we don’t allow use of our motor bikes either. Just too risky!

Edited to add: But we are lucky to have pretty good public transport options easily available, so it’s not really an issue.

@Elaine1 The only time it would be a required of the HO is if the sit responsibilities necessitate use of a car ( for example walking dogs in a specific park which you need to drive to / or no local options for exercising the dogs ) .

Aside from that it’s entirely optional and certainly not expected.

Again, it’s not required but if a HO is finding it difficult to get a sitter it maybe something to consider offering . Making a car available can be more attractive to a sitter who is coming from overseas or if the public transport links aren’t good .

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I’ve done five sits so far and have been offered use of a car twice. I took them up on it during one sit — drove them to the airport, because they’d been kind enough to pick me up there, and I got groceries with it. In the other case, I was sitting within walking distance of groceries, so I didn’t use the car. It would’ve presumably been more convenient to drive, but I didn’t risk it, considering I was abroad and they drive on the other side.

I have done about 20 sits but many didn’t need a car. Of the 5 sits where a car was essential, 4 offered use of a car and for one I rented a car. (Years ago when UK car renrals were affordable. Nowadays I would be unlikely to rent a car for any sit.) The owners who have loaned me a car in the past added me to their insurance policy. On occasion I have seen pet parents expect a sitter to put dogs in a rental car. Most rentals don’t allow animals in them. Just something to consider.

I don’t think you should feel pressured to do something you aren’t comfortable with. I also dont see anything wrong with the sitter stating her needs and backing it up with what she has experienced in the past.

We also were reluctant to leave a car for our sitters. Fortunately, they didn’t ask. We did leave our bikes (and helmets and a lock), as well as phone numbers for several neighbors and friends in case of emergency (had to get the dog to the vet, e.g.). We are lucky in that our town is very walkable (grocery store is a couple blocks away, great park for walks 2 blocks away etc), and we are close to good public transportation if they wanted to get into the city. This was also summer, so great walking/biking weather.
We are planning a longer trip in the Winter, so we’re wondering about the whole car thing. Thanks for confirming that you really have to be comfortable with whatever you offer.

I’ve done about 70 sits and used HOs’ cars on maybe 1/3. When I first started sitting in 2017 even in the UK where HOs offered and added me to their insurance in the country in Quantocks and in Edinburgh, although I didn’t drive in Edinburgh. Also on Jeju Island in Canada and the US.
But last summer the rules have changed and the price to add me (over 70 yo) meant that owners couldn’t add me in the UK any more. For some country sits, the HOs shared the cost of auto insurance with me.
Here in the US, coverage generally goes with the car and anyone the owner gives permission to drive to. But if anything were to happen, there is the deductible and the premium would go up.
For me, for some sits a car is needed and U ask -if the owner isn’t comfortable, I’m okay. I’ll just look for another sit.

We do the long-term sits (i.e. 1-6 months) and don’t take a sit without a car offered.
It’s a non-negotiable as we quickly found out it’s expensive to rent a car for the whole sit for groceries etc…

We also apply for sits that don’t specify the use of the car included and 9/10 we have been lucky to use the car. All you have to do is ask. :slight_smile:


I am a Sitter and have been offered use of a car in 3 of 15 Sits. We arrive in our own car, and this may have affected these results. All Owners should be aware that Sitters can filter for “use of Owner’s car” when they search for Sits. Owners choose whether or not to click the box, “Sitter can use my car.”

If you did not click on the box, and a Sitter asks to use your car anyway, I would simply state that you already made it clear in your listing that the Sitter cannot use your car. You don’t need to feel funny about it.

On some of our Sits, the Owner asks us to take their dog to places which require a car (dog park, beach, hiking trail). In these instances, it seems that the Owner should offer use of their car rather than expect the Sitter to put wet, muddy dogs in their car.

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I sat in places where i could drive my own car (the owner sometimes had precised i could use his but i had to reach his house and there was no sea to cross), others where i could not use the owner’s one and i dared to ask some owners if it was possible he lends me his car.
I got sometimes a “yes”, even when they had not specified they would allow the sitter to use their car. Often a “no”

I accepted some sits without a car if there was some public transportation but was worrying about reaching the vet clinic if i needed to… with a taxi, asking some friends of them ? I always asked. Owners seem to forget a sitter might need some transport if the emergency clinic is far away. At night the local vet might be closed…

When pet parents agreeded, i precised i wanted to be added on their insurance. Some owners think anybody can drive their car which is intrue. They have to check !

In England it depends of many factors, if you are a resident or not, your age, of former issues… Better not to lie

I’ve veen invited by 2 owners to give a list of details (my age of course, date of driving license, copy of it, number of claims in the last 5 years, proof given by mail by my insurance company, was i owning a house, was i used to drive on the left side of the road etc.)

I asked for the copy of my temporary british insurance. In case of an accident, i could proove i was insured, that i had not stolen the car
( important if i was injured, or anybody else),

One owner gave me the copy of my temporary insurance (he refused i paid for the extra cost, what i had suggested) , the other forgot. I did not even know what was his insurance company name…

In France, in many european countries you need to carry all the time the proof of insurance ( in your wallet and putting a label on the windshield) and your driving licence with you in order to show them to the police (for any control on the road, without being involved in any accident)

Once the owner let me his car but was so much in a hurry to take his train he did not explain me how it worked… it was an automatic huge Volvo and i did not feel very confortable with. It was easier with a tiny Fiat ( brand new… so i was scared to make a scratch on narrow roads)

I rented a few times cars in Uk, it’s very expensive. So i prefer now to decline if there is no real solution with public transportation.

A bike can be ok to do shopping, to carry a cat to the vet but a huge dog?